The Brand Move Roundup – April 20, 2020

We’re tracking the notable brand moves & highlighting the companies who are tackling this challenge successfully.

We started this series of brand updates on March 12, but the reaction has been so positive, and the crisis so fast-moving, that we’re going to move to a continuously updated rolling news format from now until it’s all over (hopefully soon). Keep checking back here for the latest updates on how brands are dealing with coronavirus.

SAP is hosting a Virtual Take Your Child to Work Day; offering kids and parents the opportunity, while at home, to continue the tradition and featuring a host of stars from sportspeople to supermodels and musicians to social media influencers. The event will be hosted on YouTube at noon EDT on Thursday, April 23 ( The firm has also teamed up with No Kid Hungry, a charity organization dedicated to ensuring continued access to three healthy meals a day for children in need, especially during the pandemic. “This is something fun that SAP is offering to kids – and it is open to anyone and everyone!” said Global Chief Marketing Officer Alicia Tillman.

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, many companies are reducing their workforce, while others can’t fill jobs fast enough. People + Work Connect brings these two groups together to help get people back to work faster. Created by chief human resources officers from Accenture, Lincoln Financial Group, ServiceNow and Verizon, the global initiative provides new ways to keep people employed. It allows companies who’ve laid off or furloughed employees to work together with other businesses with an urgent need for workers. The tool, developed pro bono by Accenture and in collaboration with the four companies’ Chief Human Resources Officers, is meant to facilitate the transfer of products and services in the workplace. It is free for employers across all industries, although only companies with 100 or more jobs to fill or employees to place can join.

HPE Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, has installed network infrastructure on the GNV Splendid, a passenger ferry that has been turned into a floating hospital in Genoa, Italy. The network includes 70 access points and more than 4 kilometers of cable, providing Wi-Fi coverage for healthcare workers and patients on board, and allowing ambulance crews to provide real-time updates on the status of patients as they arrive. Aruba is also donating $50 million in secure network connectivity kits for the provisioning of pop-up clinics, testing sites and temporary hospital facilities in the US, Canada and several countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Networking specialist CenturyLink has also been supplying internet connections to temporary hospital facilities in Seattle, Salem, Oregon and the US Naval Ship Mercy, moored off Los Angeles.

Some of the world’s top stars have helped to raise nearly $128 million for the World Health Organization during the coronavirus pandemic by performing in a concert broadcast globally. Dozens of celebrities and musicians, including Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder and the Rolling Stones, took part in the 8-hour show called One World: Together At Home. Global Citizen, the international advocacy group that organized the event, said that $127.9 million had been pledged in donations. The show, which also showed featured stories about frontline workers, was streamed live on various online platforms and aired on NBC, CBS and ABC in the US; it will be broadcast in the UK by the BBC. Other partners include Analog Devices, Cisco, Citi, Coca-Cola, GSK, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Proctor and Gamble, Pepsi, State Farm, Target, Teneo, Verizon, Vodafone, Verizon, and WW International. Bloomberg Philanthropies helped support the initiative, including committing $8 million.

The NBA and WNBA have teamed with fan merchandise specialist Fanatics to launch cloth face coverings, featuring all 30 NBA and 12 WNBA team logos, available on the leagues’ apparel websites. “As a global community, we can all play a role in reducing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic by following the CDC’s recommendation to cover our nose and mouth while in public,” said Kathy Behrens, NBA president for social responsibility and player programs. “Through this new product offering, NBA and WNBA fans can adhere to these guidelines while joining in the league’s efforts to aid those who have been directly affected by COVID-19.” All of the proceeds will benefit hunger relief organizations Feeding America in the United States and Second Harvest in Canada.

Microsoft is working with a consortium of pharmaceutical companies to recruit people who have recovered from Covid-19 to donate their plasma, which could be used in treatments for the disease. To help get the word out, the company is launching a chatbot, which it refers to as its plasmabot, to lead people through a series of questions to determine if they’re a candidate to donate plasma. The plasmabot, which goes live this weekend, will also provide information about the procedure and direct them to a nearby site where they can safely make the donation. After conducting its own research into the approach, Microsoft’s head of research Peter Lee said he believes it has the “potential to save lives.” So the company is setting aside computing resources and other infrastructure, as well as engineering talent. It is also promoting the plasmabot through a website, and its search, web and social channels. The company is supporting the efforts of a plasma alliance formed by companies like Octapharma, Takeda, CSL Behring and others. That project also counts the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation among its advisors.

Convoy, a digital freight service that helps shippers get thousands of loads onto trucks every day, says it will cover the cost of hauling food to local pantries and food banks donated by U.S. businesses during the COVID-19 crisis to help reduce a growing shortage for some Americans. “The COVID-19 outbreak is making it difficult for food banks, food pantries and soup kitchens to fulfill their missions at a time when they’re needed the most,” said Convoy cofounder and CEO Dan Lewis. “We can immediately source high-quality drivers to move food donations to the communities where they’re needed most.”

Online retailer Gazelle is donating all of the iPads from its warehouse to hospitals in the U.S. Gazelle, which is owned by ecoATM, has so far donated about 300 iPads to front line healthcare workers. “During this difficult time, we are donating iPads from our inventory to hospitals across the country to help patients communicate with loved ones, aid with telemedicine and provide better communication between patients and health workers,” said the company. The iPads have gone to a number of facilities including Sharp Healthcare in San Diego, Calif.; UofL Health in Louisville; Kaiser Permanente in Ontario, Calif., and to hospitals such as Weill Cornell in New York City.

Michelob Ultra has launched a series called Movement by Michelob Ultra Live on its Facebook Live, Instagram Live and YouTube Live channels to reach consumers stuck at home during coronavirus – and give them a chance to tip fitness trainers who appear in the videos. For each dollar donated, Michelob Ultra and Optimum Nutrition will match the donation, up to $7,500 a week.

Publisher Penguin Random House has compiled digital cookbook Family Meal: Recipes from Our Community, a collection of more than 40 recipes from authors it works with, to help restaurant workers struggling during the pandemic. The $5.99 digital book includes dishes from celebrity cooks such as Hugh Acheson, Dan Barber, Molly Baz, Bobby Flay, Edouardo Jordan, Kwame Onwuachi, Ruth Reichl and Danny Trejo. Proceeds will go to the Restaurant Workers’ COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund.